A European Union ban on imports of Russian coal, the cornerstone measure in the bloc's fifth package of sanctions against Moscow for the Russia-Ukraine war, will come into full force at midnight on Wednesday, APA reports citing Reuters.
The end of a four-month wind-down period for existing contracts will activate the EU's first ban on energy imports from Russia since the start of what the Kremlin calls a "special military operation" on Feb. 24.
"The 10th of August is the end of the wind-down period for the import of Russian coal and no further exemption will apply," a spokesperson for the European Commission said.
The EU executive says the ban will hit Russia hard because the 27-nation bloc is its biggest coal-trading partner, resulting in revenue losses for the country of around 8 billion euros ($8.3 billion) a year.
It has depended on Russia for around 45% of its coal imports, according to Commission data, with Germany, Poland and the Netherlands the biggest buyers. Almost 70% of its thermal coal, which is used in power and heat generation, has come from Russia, according to the Brussels-based think tank Bruegel.
The ban on Russian coal imports will bring further strain on coal supplies and force European consumers to look elsewhere at a time when there is already concern about dwindling supplies of Russian gas and a severe energy crunch in the winter.